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Coronavirus Kent: Councils and police warn visitors to stay away over Easter weekend

Visitors are being warned to "stay away" from Kent beauty spots over the Easter weekend amid the coronavirus lockdown.

As temperatures are expected to soar into the 20s over the Bank Holiday, local authorities, police and residents are warning people to stay at home and continue adhering to Covid-19 social distancing measures.

Herne Bay beach. Stock picture
Herne Bay beach. Stock picture

Swale Borough Council is among those to release messages urging people to stay away from beaches and parks.

"We want to remind everyone to not visit beaches like Minster leas, Shingle bank or Leysdown, or parks like Oare, Milton Creek, Perry Wood or Barton’s Point," the authority tweeted.

"We're working with Kent Police over the Easter weekend to make sure people are complying with government instructions."

"If you live nearby, it's fine to exercise there - with social distancing.

"We're trying to stop the situation where lots of people drive to popular places from further afield at the same time, making social distancing difficult."

Canterbury City Council also shared a photo of its car parks, which were deserted last weekend despite the warm weather.

Gorrell Tank car park was deserted last weekend. Picture: Canterbury City Council
Gorrell Tank car park was deserted last weekend. Picture: Canterbury City Council

"This is exactly how we'd like them to look for the next four days," said a spokesman. "Deserted. Like a ghost town. Cue tumbleweed etc etc. You get the idea.

"We want you to enjoy your Easter, of course, and eat lots of chocolate or whatever else you like instead. But please do so from the safety and comfort of your own home."

Previous weekends have seen crowds of people flocking to spots such as Whitstable, a town popular amongst second home owners, in defiance of social distancing advice.

Residents have now taken to posting signs outside their homes and businesses urging people to stay away.

The signs read: "Heading to Whitstable? Turn around. Go home. Stay home. This is not a holiday."

Crime author and Whitstable resident Julie Wassmer took to Twitter yesterday to share the image, adding: "Too many people in our town today - in cars and on the beach. The UK is in lockdown. That's NOT a public holiday. Stay home and do not put our town and our residents at risk."

She added that she plans to print out a copy of the poster and stick it in her window this weekend, inviting others to do the same.

It comes after Kent's chief constable Alan Pughsley warned people to stay on lockdown over the bank holiday, as six fines were handed out over the past week to people who continued to flout the rules.

He said: "I'm very pleased with the figure in one way, it shows most of the public are complying with my officer's directions.

"But I'm disappointed that we had to impose any fines - somebody was sunbathing and was told not to but he carried on sunbathing, which I think is appalling.

"Others have been stopped in cars with friends who they don't live with, it was the second and third time we had reported them."

"The vast majority have responded brilliantly to the guidelines.

"Those who haven't have been met by my officers in the policing spirit that we promised we would do.

"We've engaged, we've explained and we've encouraged the error of their ways and the vast majority have complied.

Chief constable disappointed by fines issued in the county

"The small majority we have had to move to enforcement activity.

"If we have to we will move to enforcement again."

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